Brutalism – Utopia or Dystopia?
A style that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, and has more recently seen a rebirth, Brutalism continues to divide people to this day; you either love or you hate it!
‘A Journey Through Brutalism’ is an exhibition presenting artistic homages to the versatile and majestic architectural form through a wide range of media.
With artwork, tours, film screenings and special talks, this month-long ode to Brutalism is sure to give you a fresh perspective on those towering monoliths of concrete you may avert your eyes from on your morning commute!
Originating from the French word for “raw” and Le Corbusier’s description of his material of choice, béton brut (raw concrete), the term ‘Brutalism’ came into wider use in the UK after British architectural critic Reyner Banham titled his 1966 book, ‘The New Brutalism’.
Brutalism became popular with governmental and institutional clients, because of concrete’s cost advantage: it is cheap and abundant, the second most consumed material in the world, after water. Architects of the era shared these ideals, and Croydon is one of the only London boroughs where you can see so many examples of their creations, with no less than 45 office blocks (mostly skyscrapers) built – an impressive 6 million square feet in all!
Today, Croydon’s reputation remains largely based on the Brutalist footprint of yesteryear. This exhibition looks at Brutalist architecture; past, present and future, with a particular focus on the London Borough of Croydon and celebrating its architectural heritage.
Special Guest Speakers at the Private View:
Jonathan Meades, writer and presenter of the BBC documentaries ‘Bunkers, Brutalism, Bloodymindedness: Concrete Poetry’ and ‘Benbuilding – Mussolini, Monuments, Modernism and Marble’ and John Grindrod, author of ‘Outskirts: Living Life on the Edge of the Green Belt’, ‘Concretopia: A Journey Around the Rebuilding of Postwar Britain’ and the forthcoming ‘How to Love Brutalism’.